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Eagles steal draw against Whitehaven

30/05/2021

Sheffield Eagles overturned a three-score deficit in the final 20 minutes to draw 25-25 against Whitehaven at the Keepmoat. 

Whitehaven looked to have the game wrapped up as the Eagles struggled to complete sets but the hosts fought back and a drop goal from Anthony Thackeray on the hooter meant the spoils were shared. 

Thackeray was welcomed back into the fold alongside Connor Bower, Ryan Millar and Greg Burns  as Mark Aston rung the changes following defeat to Featherstone last time out. 

An Izaac Farrell error from kickoff gave Whitehaven a chance to score from their first set, and they did just that courtesy of Connor Holliday. Lachlan Walmsley converted. 

Greg Burns and Brad Knowles responded for the Eagles with a try each to go 12-6 up following Farrell’s two conversions. 

Two scores in quick succession for the visitors put them back in the driving seat as half-time approached. Walmsley and Gregg McNally both touched down, with the former converting. McNally’s turn with the boot was to come as he notched a drop goal with seconds of the first half remaining. 

Half-time - Sheffield Eagles 12-19 Whitehaven

An error-ridden start to the second half certainly didn’t work in Sheffield’s favour as they looked to get back into the game with some expansive play. 

It was almost too expansive at times as they were put into touch on several occasions and such turnovers were always going to come back and bite where it hurts. 

Whitehaven were in dreamland when Jake Bradley crossed after good work from Walmsley, who caught a high kick and got the offload away. Walmsley was on hand to convert again as Gary Charlton’s men eyed up an important victory. 

Whether their concentration went astray is up for discussion but Sheffield certainly got back into the game as their playmakers took over. 

Both Farrell and Thackeray scored tries late on, with the stand-off converting both as the hosts cut the deficit to a lone point. 

The full-time hooter had sounded just as Thackeray put boot to ball, which sailed through the sticks. A remarkable game, a dramatic ending and neither side really happy with the end result. 

Full-time - Sheffield Eagles 25-25 Whitehaven

By Dan Fowler, photo by Alex Coleman